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Last week I wrote about the rules before going to a restaurant and this week is about after you arrive.
Once you get to a restaurant there’s a few simple things that you can do to not only eat better meals but also to eat healthy.
No. 6 - If the menu says a dish is “fried,” don’t
This a simple rule and one that you should live by for all of your healthy eating. There’s rarely any fried food that’s all that great tasting except for the occasional fried chicken. That said, you should never order fried chicken that’s not fantastic. If it’s not chicken that makes you come close to crying because it’s so good, don’t eat it.
No. 7 - Order something different.
A lot of time the dishes we order are simply routine and most often they’re not so great for us. One of my favorite stories from a patient came about a month after she had begun using an eatTHISdiet plan. She had often gone out to eat and she and her husband would have fried mozzarella sticks (see Rule No. 1). She figured that she would splurge and ordered them, only to realize how greasy and tasteless they really are.
Look at the whole menu. Choose something new. Have something that you’ve never had before (follow Rule No. 6, Rule No. 8 and Rule No. 9). The best way to experience new food is to let someone else cook for you.
No. 8 - Sauce on the side.
One of my chef friends hates when diners do this. My reply to him has always been, "If most restaurant food wasn’t soaked in stupid amounts of sauce, we wouldn’t need to ask you to let us put it on the food ourselves." Since a lot of the calories in the food you eat in restaurants is in the sauces, it’s a great idea to control this yourself.
This is true for main dishes, but it’s especially true for salad dressings. A lot of salad dressings are really high in calories and if you have only a couple of tablespoons, instead of 1/3 cup of dressing, you’ll save as much as 150 calories on your otherwise healthy salad.
No. 9 - Order fish.
This is an easy one because a lot of people don’t like to cook fish. A lot of readers and patients tell me that this is because they don’t know how to cook seafood. By having fish you’re having what is likely the healthiest thing on the menu. At the same time you’ll find which fish you really love, and from there it’s easy to find a recipe you’ll love on the Dr. Gourmet web site or among the thousands of other sites on the internet.
Eat healthy fish in a restaurant, cook it at home, easy.
No. 10 - Eat half.
For those of you who are working on losing some weight or if you encounter a dish that’s huge, simply eat half. There’s a lot of advantage in this. Not only do you get a great dinner you’ll get a great lunch or dinner the next day.
One of my friends taught me the trick of asking the waiter or waitress for a take home box when your meal arrives. Divvy it up and put the take home half away. Clean your plate and you’re good to go.
Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!
September 17, 2007